Monday, September 26, 2011

Day 10: Paris (Sept. 26)

Today's photo set is here on Flickr.

While waiting at Notre Dame last night, I discovered that one of the things I planned to do today (Monday) was closed, so I swapped my entire Monday and Tuesday schedules. Fortunately it was easy.

I started out with another Rick Steves suggestion, take the #69 bus from the Eiffel Tower to the Pere Lachaise Cemetery. That gave me time to eat my curry chicken on a bagel sandwich sitting in the Champs du Mars waiting for the bus, looking out over the Tower. It occurred to me that most Parisian are probably jaded and don't think twice about seeing it every day. Among other places, the bus took us past Invalides (the Army museum and Napoleon's Tomb), along the Seine near Notre Dame, and past the Bastille Monument before arriving at the cemetery.

Most of the tombs there are from the 1600s-1800s, though there are many from the 19th and 20th centuries. It's still in use today, I saw one with a 2010 date. The map showed the locations of the tombs of Rossini ("The William Tell Overture"), Jim Morrison of The Doors, composer Chopin, author Moliere, actress Sarah Bernhardt, and author Oscar Wilde (whose tomb is covered in lipstick kisses), along with some people with unusual gravestones. I spent about 2 hours in the cemetery, which combined with a late start didn't leave enough time to do my rescheduled Marais walk from the Pompidou Center through the Jewish Quarter to the Holocaust Memorial, so I went straight from the cemetery to Montmarte to the Sacre-Coeur Church, and the timing worked out so that I'd see it in the daylight and be there at dusk. My travel card covered the funicular so I took that rather than walk up the hill (especially since I was going to climb the church dome too). At the base of the church are some steps where everyone just sits down and takes in the view, which is pretty amazing. At the top of the dome (around 225 steps, took me about 7 minutes to climb) is another fantastic viewpoint with nearly unobstructed views of the city.

Walked down the street from Montmarte to the next metro stop, Pigalle. It's where Paris' red-light district is, and it was very strange to see a McDonald's next to an x-rated movie theater and the Sexodrome right near a grocery store. It's also the home of the famous Moulin Rouge.

I went to the Latin Quarter for some non-French food and ended up in the Nouveau Village Chez Momo for Moroccan food, a plate of couscous with a pot of sauce and vegetables plus meatballs and hot sausage. Strolled around after dinner and got a couple of pastries at a patisserie (basically, fried bread soaked and saturated with honey) for dessert. Took some pictures around St Michel and then back home.

Today's photo set is here on Flickr.

(Originally posted on 10/2/11 aat 2:33am, Copenhagen)

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